How healthy is your heart?

It is extremely important to take care of your heart since heart disease is a major factor in mortality rates in the UK. This blog talks about how a good nutrition plan can impact heart health.

Eating healthily is immensely important for both mental and physical wellness. By taking certain steps, you can lessen your likelihood of getting heart sickness and other disorders like gaining weight in an unhealthful way, diabetes, and high blood pressure and stroke.

Mr. Inderpaul Birdi, a Cardiac Surgeon from The Keyhole Heart Clinic London, is certain that having a nutritious diet is a great way to reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular problems.

It is not a rarity that certain food can have an effect on blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood glucose levels, and inflammation, all of which can result in an elevation of coronary heart disease chance.


Nutrition for Heart Health

To start, let’s explore the expected outcomes of a cardiac-beneficial diet. The primary objective is to decrease or ward off elevated blood pressure and elevated blood cholesterol levels, the two predominant risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Managing oxidative stress and inflammation can help prevent any cardiovascular issues.

Generally, the healthiest food for the cardiovascular system is unprocessed and plant-based, such as whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. These food items are filled with dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, all of which are essential for having optimal cardiovascular performance. In the mentioned foods there are components that contain a great quantity of anti-inflammatory fats, such as omega-3, explains Trent Orfanos, MD, ABIHM, a cardiologist and director of integrative and functional cardiology at Case Integrative Health. These heart-healthy fats can be found in abundance in avocados, olive oil, salmon, nuts, and seeds.

Eating for heart health involves limiting certain foods too. Dr. Orfanos suggested that processed and refined food items often lack the most advantageous nutrients like fiber whilst stockpiling hefty amounts of simple carbohydrates, trans fat, saturated fat, as well as excess salt and sugar. Taking too much of certain nutrients can eventually lead to several dangers for heart health, for example increased blood pressure and increased levels of cholesterol in the blood.

What types of foods should I be eating that are beneficial for cardiovascular health, and what are the most nutritious foods for my heart? Medical and nutrition experts recommend including the following in your diet on a regular basis to help maintain a healthy heart.

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Healthiest Foods for Your Heart


Fresh, succulent berries like strawberries and blueberries are some of the most important heart health foods. Dr. Orfanos states that berries are loaded with important nourishment which include fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants and are good for one’s heart. Fruits and vegetables with hues of red, blue, and purple contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that give them their attractive coloring. Based on a 2021 paper published in Frontiers in Nutrition, the powerful anthocyanins found in berries can lower cholesterol levels and inflammation, which can protect the heart from disease.

Dr. Orfanos recommends consuming, at minimum, three portions of 0.5 cups of berries per week. Fortunately, it is effortless to incorporate berries into one’s diet, either by eating them by themselves as a snack or dessert, or adding them to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, and salads. Oatmeal is particularly beneficial for heart health.




The health benefits of nuts are plenty. Rhyan Geiger, who is a registered dietitian and the creator of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian, states that types of nuts including almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy unsaturated fats. These nutrients help to keep the heart healthy by controlling cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation, both of which can contribute to developing heart disease. In addition, it is worth pointing out that nuts are excellent sources of both dietary fiber and plant sterols, both of which have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels. Whenever practical, opt for unsalted nuts, as having too much salt can cause hypertension.

The American Heart Association suggests that you eat 1.5 ounces (or approximately a fistful of nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter) four times a week as your optimum nut consumption amount. You could incorporate nuts into oatmeal, smoothies, salads, granola, or make your own mixture of snacks.

Whole Grains

Whole grains, such as oats, oatmeal, quinoa, and whole wheat breads, are beneficial to the heart. Whole grain products include all parts of the grain – the germ, bran, and endosperm – as their name implies. The grains in question have numerous nutrients, for instance magnesium, unsaturated fat, and fiber, that are important for optimal heart health.

Conversely, even though white bread and white pasta have an enjoyable taste, they have sadly had the most nutritious elements removed from them. It is okay to treat yourself to unhealthy food from time to time, but making sure you’re consuming whole grains regularly is the best option for your heart. Try to eat three half-cup servings or three slices of whole grain bread daily.


Provide your body with nourishment by consuming more beans (and other legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and even peanuts). All types of beans can help you save money and stay fresh for longer periods of time. These legumes also have amazing anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering health benefits, as concluded by a 2021 article in the journal Nutrition. Beans contain fiber that helps sustain healthier gut conditions, which reduces inflammation and aids in defending the heart.

If you’re uncertain about how to incorporate beans into your diet, consider changing out the animal proteins high in saturated fat (e.g. red meat) with beans-based meals (for example chickpea burgers). Alternately, you could reduce the portion of meat while supplementing it with beans, which is also a great way to save money. Eating this is a great way to increase your intake of plant-based proteins and fibers, while decreasing the amount of saturated fat you consume.

Fatty Fish

No compilation of food considered beneficial for the heart would be considered complete without fatty fish, which contain a great deal of omega-3 fats. These nutrients mainly benefit the heart by decreasing inflammation, as stated by Dr. Orfanos. Eating fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, canned light tuna, cod, and sardines on a frequent basis has been linked to a reduced potential to develop cardiovascular disease, a bearing pointed out by the American Heart Association.

Dr. Orfanos advises having at least two portions of oily fish per week. One portion is equal to 3 ounces of cooked seafood or three-fourths of a cup of crumbled seafood. There are numerous delectable, fatty fish choices to experiment with, virtually all of which can be incorporated into dishes like hot salads, combined grain dishes, or tacos.

Leafy Greens

Leafy vegetables, like spinach, lettuce, and arugula, should be part of a nourishing, heart-friendly diet. The reason for this is that they have a large amount of nitrates (which are nitrogen-based compounds) and dietary fiber. He points out that nitrates change into nitric acid inside the body, which has the effect of lowering one’s blood pressure. Dietary fiber plays an important role in decreasing both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additionally, leafy green vegetables supply significant amounts of heart-healthy nutrients, such as B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.

Green Tea

Green tea is excellent for your heart. This encompasses all types of dried green tea steeped from a tea bag, which includes popular matcha powder created from ground young green tea leaves (Matcha Powder). Green tea has catechins, which are antioxidants with a powerful effect. They are effective at stopping the enzymes responsible for the manufacturing of cholesterol, consequently decreasing the amount of cholesterol which is absorbed in the intestines and helping to keep cholesterol levels in check.

Green tea is amazing by itself, no matter if it is hot or icy, however feel free to be imaginative with this delectable beverage. Drink tea to reap cardiovascular benefits by having it in your latte, smoothie, flavored lemonade, baked goods, or even in rice.


What Are the Worst Foods for Your Heart & Why?

Conversely, there are some dishes that you should steer clear of in order to sustain a healthy heart.

Refined and Added Sugar

Sugar that has been processed (sucrose) is partly processed into fat in the cells. Eating large quantities of sugar can lead to difficulties with controlling your weight, which puts you at a higher risk for illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. It is now established that there is a correlation between these ailments and the development of heart-related problems and death.

To avoid consuming refined and added sugar, do not purchase any sugary drinks, condiments, soups, cakes, pastries, or products made with white flour, noodles, or polished rice. Take out all of the added sugars from your eating plan, and try your hand at more home-cooking. Keep in mind that numerous reduced-fat edibles are likely to be packed with massive amounts of added processed sugar.

When choosing fruit, go for low sugar selections such as blueberries, Granny Smith apples, rhubarb, and kiwi. It’s best to avoid processed or dried fruits.

READ MORE: How Much Sugar Is Safe To Eat?

Excess Salt

Too much salt can lead to inadequate regulation of blood pressure. Having high blood pressure is one of the greatest predictors for suffering from a cardiovascular illness, resulting in serious harm or even death. It’s not necessary to just add table salt to your food in order to be eating too much of it. Getting ready food items like smoked, salted, cured, and marinated food, soy sauce, mustards, soups, pre-cooked meals, condiments, canned goods with included salt, and salted snacks can lead to higher levels of salt ingestion. Think closely about the meals you eat regularly and the components you include in order to gain insight into how you can cut down on the amount of salt you consume.

Excess Fats but Not All Fats

“Not all fats are bad for you. Mr Inderpaul Birdi, a Cardiac Surgeon at The Keyhole Heart Clinic London, suggests that a diet that includes fatty substances from fish, nuts, and seeds, as well as olive oil, can have cardioprotective effects which can help in guarding against cardiovascular risk.

Fats in general are essential for our health. Fat-fueled energy assists us in controlling our body temperature. Fats play an important role in enabling us to take up vital nutrients like vitamin A, D, and E. Fats are important for the production of hormones that enable our bodies to carry out their functions properly. It has been observed that some key types of fatty acids, such as Omega-3, can help protect the heart.

According to the American Heart Association, no more than 6% of caloric intake should come from saturated fat. It can be reworded as: Eating 2,000 calories a day should not exceed 11-13 grams of saturated fat.

What about trans-fats?

Partially hydrogenated fats that exist in low quantities are known as trans-fats. Manufacturing created trans-fats have been a matter of debate for a while now. It is believed that increased cholesterol levels in your blood, caused by trans-fats, can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Certain nations have forbidden the utilization of trans-fats that are manufactured industrially. However, some food groups may still contain trans-fats. Stay away from items which include “partially hydrogenated vegetable fat/oil” in the ingredients.

The AHA advise that trans-fats should be avoided. Eating foods with trans-fat may lead to other illnesses, like stroke, problems with the liver, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you choose to have meat in your diet, it is essential to remove all fat prior to eating, minimize the amount of butter and lard used to cook with, and evade foods containing partially hydrogenated fats.



Is it ok to consume some ‘bad foods’ for your heart in moderation? If so, how often can you feel ok about eating them?

It is recommended to have a well-rounded diet that includes all of the nutrients with properties known to help protect the heart. Practically speaking, however, life is for living. Occasionally, there are still opportunities for us to disobey the regulations.

As much as feasible, alcohol should be limited. It is possible that drinking a moderate amount of wine (one or two glasses) in a week may provide heart health benefits. If you have a craving for something sweet, why not indulge yourself with a blend of a small piece of dark chocolate and a handful of nutritious nuts? This combination is an excellent way to provide your heart with both a treat and health benefits.

We strongly suggest that sugar and salt be kept to a minimum, and while not all fats are unhealthy, it is best to exclude trans-fats from one’s diet.

Genetics can be responsible for certain traits, but it is lifestyle choices that ultimately cause them to be expressed. Mr Inderpaul Birdi, a Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at The Keyhole Heart Clinic London, has suggested quitting smoking, decreasing alcohol intake, and eating healthier in order to lower the risk of heart disease.

To conclude, further research adds weight to the correlation between diet and heart disease. The food you consume can affect many facets of cardiovascular wellness, including blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Incorporating these nutritious foods into a healthy diet and avoiding unwholesome fare can help keep your heart functioning optimally and reduce the likelihood and severity of heart disease.

Having a balanced diet is essential for well-being and staying away from illness, yet the enormous amount of data on nutrition can be baffling. Eating in a healthy way should not be an ongoing struggle, rather, it should make you feel strong, energize you, and let you appreciate the pleasure that delicious food can give. If you are unclear on your next move, you can obtain help from heart-healthy nutritionists.



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